Low water levels cause boat ramp closures in southern Oregon

ASHLAND, Ore. — Fall is here but less rain and snow this past year means southern Oregon lakes are drying up.

Many park officials have closed down boat ramps.

“It’s normal to see the lake real low at this time of the year. What’s not normal is that its this low,” said John Vial, Director of Jackson County Roads and Parks.

The water level at Emigrant Lake is at 12-percent of its full capacity.

“This is an unusual year. It’s not the worst year on record but it is similar to some we’ve seen a couple years ago,” said Vial.

Vial added the dry weather this past summer contributed to low water levels.

”There is no current boat ramps at Emigrant Lake and hasn’t been for a few weeks.”

Applegate Lake is also seeing lower water levels.

“Currently because of low water levels, French Gulch Boat Ramp has been closed,” said Chamise Kramer, Public Information Officer with Siskiyou Rogue River National Forest.

The U.S. Corps of Engineers said Applegate Lake is 11 feet lower than where they’d like it to be.

The lake depends on rain and snow to fill up and then be released into the Applegate River.

“Our other main concerns as far as flows are trying to keep a certain water flow and help potentially temperature in the river itself to help enhance fish throughout the river,” said Bob Turk, Acting Operations Project Manager.

Lake managers from Emigrant and Applegate Lake say they are hopeful rain in the coming days and weeks will bring the water up.

Managers said it’s too early to tell what the impacts may be for next summer if rain and snow don’t come.  They said they will have a better idea come spring.

Park officials want to remind people not to drive on the lake bottom due to the muddy conditions and the potential for getting stuck.

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